Analysis

Betting launch to boost NC in Wedge Index

The launch of sports betting in North Carolina’s two tribal casinos will help the state in its Wedge Index rankings.

However, mobile betting and remote registration are also needed to harness all the commercial benefits of those platforms.

North Carolina continues to rank in T40th position on the Wedge Index as a result of delays to launching sports betting across the state. 

The hold up comes despite Governor Roy Cooper signing off the sports-betting bill S154 during summer 2019.

The bill does not allow for online or mobile betting so is far from being the most business friendly for operators. But once live at the state’s two Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians casinos, Harrah’s Cherokee and Valley River North Carolina would jump up the ratings and would be nearing the top 10.

Ongoing negotiations 

The reason sports-betting is not live is because the governor has not added it to the games tribes can offer as part of the gambling compact. The tribes and governor’s office have failed to reach agreement on the regulatory detail.

According to local media, the tribes are resisting calls to agree to certain levels of reporting and paying for monitoring costs. 

A spokesperson for the governor replied that negotiations were ongoing. The state presented a new compact in January and despite numerous meetings with the tribe since, no agreement had been reached. Nonetheless all parties were confident that the outcome of the talks would be positive.

The sports-betting bill only allows in-person betting at the two tribal casinos. Both venues are the only places where people can gamble legally in North Carolina. 

However, they are not easy to access and capacity and social distancing restrictions present further barriers to allowing North Carolina citizens to bet safely.

Mobile and remote registration needed 

The state is looking at legalizing online and mobile betting as a way to address pandemic-related worries and enable it to capture more tax revenues. 

It could be the cause of further friction.

While the health measures are understood by all parties the tribes are notoriously protective of their monopolies.

The lack of online and mobile betting as well as remote registration present major hurdles for operators wanting to generate more revenues.

Having them as regulated features in North Carolina would boost the state’s standings by 25 points on the Wedge Index.

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Jake Pollard

Jake Pollard is an experienced journalist and editor who has covered the online gaming and betting industry for many years. He has written for the leading media outlets as well as operators and suppliers in the igaming space. His current areas of focus are wide-ranging and include regulatory developments in the US, emerging markets in South America and how European countries are adapting to a decade of igaming regulation.

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